Whether you’re visiting some of the historic landmarks in the city or taking a trip to the Detroit Zoo, there’s no shortage of things to do in Detroit. Of course, you’ve got to make time to eat at some of the local restaurants, and Detroit is no stranger to excellent cuisine. In fact, National Geographic named Detroit as one of the top “unexpected cities” for food lovers. Considering the prestige surrounding the award, you might wonder if there are any Michelin Star Restaurants in Detroit.
Although there are numerous Michelin-worthy restaurants in the Detroit area, there aren’t any restaurants that currently hold a Michelin Star. Michelin has yet to rate any restaurants in Detroit or Michigan, although there is a guide for Chicago and its numerous upscale restaurants.
Even though Detroit doesn’t currently hold any stars doesn’t mean there aren’t any restaurants worthy of the award. Keep reading to find out which restaurants could make the cut if Michelin expanded its guide to Detroit.
Restaurants in Detroit Worthy of a Michelin Star
Michelin has rated restaurants in the U.S. since 2005, but they’ve only added a handful of U.S. guides during that time. While the Michelin Guide has expanded to areas such as New York City and Chicago, there are still many locations in the country left untouched.
Detroit is a large city with an excellent food scene, but Michelin has yet to make its way there to rate some of the local restaurants. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any restaurants in Detroit that are worthy of a Michelin Star.
If Michelin decided to rate the restaurants in the area, here are some of the Detroit restaurants that could make the cut:
- The Apparatus Room
- Selden Standard
- The Whitney
- Prime + Proper
- Mabel Gray
- Oak & Reel
Detroit has numerous high-class restaurants and each restaurant brings its own flair to the cuisine, whether it’s internationally inspired or inspired by local flavors. Let’s explore what makes each of these Detroit restaurants special enough to be considered for a Michelin Star.
The Apparatus Room
From the beautifully-lit bar to the cozy and comfortable dining room, The Apparatus Room has everything you need for an enjoyable night out in Detroit. This upscale restaurant offers American cuisine in an industrial-style atmosphere inside the Detroit Foundation Hotel. The unique location of the restaurant was previously the garage for the Detroit Fire Department, but the restaurant owners have repurposed the space in the most creative and exciting way.
Chef Rece Hogerheide runs the show at The Apparatus Room, at least as far as the kitchen goes. Guests at The Apparatus Room get a full view of the open kitchen, adding to the overall dining experience. Chef Rece focuses on using fresh ingredients from local Michigan farmers to create delicious shareable plates and entrees.
You can visit The Apparatus Room for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. Those staying at The Detroit Foundation Hotel can even enjoy the cuisine from their hotel room with in-room dining. When you enjoy a meal at The Apparatus Room, you might experience items like the Caraway Deviled Eggs with whitefish caviar or the Truffle Farro Risotto with crispy shallot and herb oil.
Whether you choose a seat inside with a full view of the kitchen or a seat on the cozy outdoor patio, you’ll have a memorable meal when you dine at Selden Standard. The idea behind Selden Standard was to create a comfortable place for you to enjoy a delicious meal with friends. Additionally, the staff builds each menu item with ingredients from local farms and serves them as sharable portions to encourage a community experience.
Aside from the items on the menu, the staff at Selden Standard also take the bar seriously as part of the overall experience of the restaurant. Each wine and brew is carefully selected to perfectly pair and complement each appetizer or entree. Considering its success, it’s no surprise that the Selden Standard has been recognized by local publications like the Detroit Free Press and Hour Detroit.
Executive Chef Andy Hollyday creates an exceptional dining experience with meals crafted from fresh, local ingredients. When you visit Selden Standard for dinner, you can choose from items like the Spicy Squid with crispy rice and kimchi or the Thai Grilled Chicken with herbs and fish sauce.
Words fall short when it comes to describing the beauty, class, and charm of The Whitney, a fine dining restaurant located within the iconic David Whitney Mansion. David Whitney Jr., previously the wealthiest man in Detroit, built the mansion for his family in 1894.
The 22,000-square-foot mansion is now home to the Whitney Restaurant, the Ghost Bar, and the beautiful Whitney Gardens. You can visit the mansion for dinner with a reservation, but it's also an event venue you can reserve for various celebrations.
When you spend the evening at the Whitney, you'll be inspired by more than just the artwork and beautiful Tiffany glass windows. They also have delicious cuisine and extraordinary service. You might start the night off with Mrs. Whitney's Sweet Pea Purse, a combination of spring peas, mascarpone, and parmesan romano. For your main course, you can enjoy items like the Chilean Sea Bass or the Lemon Risotto.
Prime + Proper
The classy and elegant interior at Prime + Proper is only a glimpse into the atmosphere and all the restaurant has to offer. This high-end restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy steak and seafood paired with a glass of wine.
The concept behind Prime + Proper is a modern interpretation of the classic American steakhouse. From the hospitality experience down to the dessert, every detail matters when you dine at Prime + Proper. When you enter the restaurant, which is located in the Capital Loft Apartments of Detroit, you'll experience the attention to detail and rich history of the ideas behind this restaurant.
Each member of the team at Prime + Proper builds relationships with the guests and creates an unforgettable experience. You can enjoy a meal at Prime + Proper for Brunch or Dinner. On the dinner menu, you'll find a wide selection of steaks, chops, and seafood from the raw bar. You can start off your meal with a selection of caviar or an appetizer such as Zucchini and Eggplant Chips.
Mabel Gray combines modern American cuisine with the style and flavors of historic Detroit. They pride themselves on creating a comfortable yet classy atmosphere where anyone in the neighborhood can feel at home.
This restaurant is the creation of Chef Rigato and every item on the ever-changing menu is handmade and created with fresh local ingredients. To keep each experience fresh and surprising, there's no set menu since the entrees change based on seasonal and available ingredients.
Mabel Gray was a James Beard Award semi-finalist and is celebrated across Detroit for its innovative and fresh cuisine. You'll have to take a look at the charming hand-written menu at Mabel Gray to know what they're offering that day, but you may find items like Chilled Green Tomato Soup or the Charcoal Grilled Swordfish.
Oak & Reel
Oak & Reel is your best bet if you're looking for classy Italian cuisine in Detroit. The chef behind Oak & Reel, Chef Jared Gadbaw, was a Michelin Star chef in New York before returning to the Michigan food scene.
Oak & Reel features classic Italian cuisine with a strong focus on seafood. Chef Jared combines classic dishes with the local flavors of Detroit, bringing a creative spin to many traditional entrees. The atmosphere at Oak & Reel is classy and elegant yet comfortable enough that you can relax while enjoying a meal with a friend or loved ones.
The dinner menu at Oak & Reel features items such as Swordfish with potatoes and grilled olives or Spaghetti with mint and trout roe. You can also select from their extensive wine list to find the glass that pairs perfectly with your meal.
Finding the Best Restaurants in Detroit
Detroit is an excellent city with a rich history and plenty of landmarks, museums, and restaurants to visit. Although there aren’t any Michelin Star Restaurants in Detroit, there are numerous restaurants that could be worthy of a Michelin Star in the future.
No matter what brings you to Detroit, you have to make a point to visit some of the top restaurants in the area. If Michelin decides to expand its U.S. guide to reach the cities in Michigan, they may consider some of these restaurants for the Michigan Guide.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com.